Tunisia: 'Foreign Elements' Behind Assassination of Hamas Drone Expert

Mohammed Zawahri was killed last week in assassination attributed to Israel's Mossad. Eight Tunisians have been arrested, police looking for Belgian suspect.

Jack Khoury
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An undated photo of engineer Mohammed Zawahri, who was assassinated in Tunisia on Dec. 15.
An undated photo of Mohammed ZawahriCredit: Facebook
Jack Khoury

Foreign elements were behind the assassination of a Hamas drone expert last Thursday, Tunisia announced on Sunday evening, following allegations that the engineer's death was orchesterated by Israel's Mossad.

In a statement, the Tunisian government said it will continue to hunt down those involved in the assassination, both inside the country and outside of it. 

Eight people were detained over suspicions that they were involved in the death of Mohammed Zawahri, who was killed in the city of the city of Sfax in an assassination attributed by Hamas and local media to Israel's Mossad.

A spokesman for the judiciary in the city of Sfax, Murad Aturki, said earlier Sunday that all those detained are Tunisian nationals, and that authorities are searching for a Belgian national who also has Moroccan citizenship.

Radwan Zawahri, Mohammed's brother, told the Hamas-affiliated news site a-Risala on Sunday morning that Israel's Mossad was the one with a clear interest in the assassination, and that Mohammed Zawahri had recently received death threats. Radwan Zawahri added that his brother, who was constantly on the move, was killed immediately upon his return from abroad, in the presence of his wife and mother.

His brother also confirmed that Zawahri signed up for doctoral studies at Sfax's school of engineering and was planning on writing his thesis on remote-controlled submarines.

Hamas' military wing Iz al-Din al-Qassam said on Saturday that Zawahri was active within the group, and was responsible for the development and production of small drones. "The enemy must know the blood of the leader Zawahri will not go in vain," Hamas said.

Hamas also said that Zawahri, a pilot, joined Palestinian resistance forces some 10 years ago, and that he "was assassinated by Zionist treacherous hands on Thursday in Sfax." According to Hamas, his assassination serves as a warning sign to Arab and Muslim countries.